•  7
    This article argues that the “qua problem” for purely causal theories of reference grounding is an illusion. Reference can be grounded via description and fit, but purely causal reference grounding is possible too. In fact, “arguments from ignorance and error” suggest that many of our terms have had their reference grounded purely causally. If the qua problem is illusory, then there is no need to adopt a “hybrid” theory of reference grounding of the kind recently recommended by Amie Thomasson an…Read more
  •  34
    Still the same dilemma for conceptual engineers: reply to Koch
    Philosophical Studies 1-12. forthcoming.
    Steffen Koch raises several objections to my critique of conceptual engineering. Here, I reply to these objections, arguing that Koch fails to adequately defend the “standard rationale” for conceptual engineering, and that the dilemma I have posed for “conceptual re-engineering”, a dilemma that presents this practice as either infeasible or else trivial, survives Koch’s objections unscathed. I conclude that conceptual engineering, both in terms of its conception and rationale, remains problemati…Read more
  •  27
    The Method of Cases Unbound
    Analysis 80 (4): 758-771. 2021.
  •  33
    Conceptual analysis without concepts
    Synthese 198 (11): 11125-11157. 2020.
    “Conceptual analysis” is a misnomer—it refers, but it does not refer to a method or practice that involves the analysis of concepts. Once this is recognized, many of the main arguments for skepticism about conceptual analysis can be answered, since many of these arguments falsely assume that conceptual analyses target concepts. The present paper defends conceptual analysis from skepticism about its viability and, positively, presents an argument for viewing conceptual analyses as targeting philo…Read more
  •  209
    Speaker’s reference, stipulation, and a dilemma for conceptual engineers
    Philosophical Studies 177 (12): 3935-3957. 2020.
    Advocates of conceptual engineering as a method of philosophy face a dilemma: either they are ignorant of how conceptual engineering can be implemented, or else it is trivial to implement but of very little value, representing no new or especially fruitful method of philosophizing. Two key distinctions frame this dilemma and explain its two horns. First, the distinction between speaker’s meaning and reference and semantic meaning and reference reveals a severe implementation problem for one cons…Read more
  •  20
    Are Intuitions Quasi‐Perceptual “Presentations”?
    Metaphilosophy 50 (5): 631-648. 2019.
    Metaphilosophy, Volume 50, Issue 5, Page 631-648, October 2019.
  •  24
    Reply to Baz
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (7): 803-811. 2019.
    Volume 62, Issue 7, August 2019, Page 803-811.
  •  20
  •  82
    The Crisis of Method in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy (review)
    with Herman Cappelen
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 1 (05). 2018.
    Review of Avner Baz's book on the methodology of philosophy
  •  77
    The One and Only Argument for Radical Millianism
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (3): 427-445. 2006.
    Radical Millianism agrees with less radical varieties in claiming that ordinary proper names lack “descriptive senses” and that the semantic content of such a name is just its referent but differs from less radical varieties of Millianism in claiming that any pair of sentences differing only in the exchange of coreferential names cannot differ in truth-value. This is what makes Radical Millianism radical. The view is surprisingly popular these days, and it is popular despite the fact that, until…Read more
  • Consciousness and the Insignificance of Materialism
    Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick. 2001.
    Materialism about the mind is the view that the mind and its properties are physical. Many believe that there is a serious problem for materialism about the mind stemming from the phenomenon of conscious experience. It is alleged by some that conscious experiences possess features that cannot be possessed by any physical thing. And, even many materialists agree that conscious experiences possess features that make it difficult to see how conscious experiences could be physical things. Consciousn…Read more
  •  32
    Replies to commentators
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (4): 420-442. 2017.
  •  75
    Representationalist theories of the phenomenal character of conscious experience are attractive because they promise a simpler 'naturalization' of the mind. However, I argue that representationalists cannot endorse an otherwise attractive externalist theory of the representational contents of conscious experiences. The combination of representationalism and externalism conflicts with a true principle linking phenomenal character to perceptual indistinguishability
  •  390
    Experimental philosophy and the theory of reference
    Mind and Language 24 (4): 445-466. 2009.
    It is argued on a variety of grounds that recent results in 'experimental philosophy of language', which appear to show that there are significant cross-cultural differences in intuitions about the reference of proper names, do not pose a threat to a more traditional mode of philosophizing about reference. Some of these same grounds justify a complaint about experimental philosophy as a whole.
  •  55
    Avner Baz on the ‘Point’ of a Question
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (7-8): 875-894. 2015.
    Avner Baz claims that questions philosophers ask about hypothetical cases lack the kind of ‘point’ possessed by ‘everyday’ questions. He concludes from this that there is something wrong with the philosophical practice of asking questions about hypothetical cases. This paper defends the practice from Baz’s criticism.
  •  93
    Semantic Intuitions: Reply to Lam
    with Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, Justin Sytsma, and Stephen P. Stich
    Cognition 117 (3): 363-366. 2010.
  •  138
    Intentionalism and intransitivity
    Synthese 144 (1): 1-22. 2005.
    I argue in this paper that the existence of sorites series of color patches – series of color patches arranged so that the patches on each end look different in color though no two adjacent patches do – shows that the relation of same phenomenal charac­ter as is not a transitive relation. I then argue that the intransitivity of same phenomenal character as conflicts with certain versions of intentionalism, the view that an experiences phenomenal character is exhausted, or fully determined by its…Read more
  •  76
    The Myth of the Intuitive
    The MIT Press. 2015.
    This book is a defense of the methods of analytic philosophy against a recent empirical challenge to the soundness of those methods. The challenge is raised by practitioners of “experimental philosophy” and concerns the extent to which analytic philosophy relies on intuition—in particular, the extent to which analytic philosophers treat intuitions as evidence in arguing for philosophical conclusions. Experimental philosophers say that analytic philosophers place a great deal of evidential weight…Read more
  •  470
    Intuitions, counter-examples, and experimental philosophy
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3): 447-460. 2010.
    Practitioners of the new ‘experimental philosophy’ have collected data that appear to show that some philosophical intuitions are culturally variable. Many experimental philosophers take this to pose a problem for a more traditional, ‘armchair’ style of philosophizing. It is argued that this is a mistake that derives from a false assumption about the character of philosophical methods; neither philosophy nor its methods have anything to fear from cultural variability in philosophical intuitions.